Are you looking for a fast yet affordable route to an EU passport?
Then Portugal’s cultural production Golden Visa might be the perfect fit for you.
With an investment threshold starting from just €200,000, this is Portugal’s cheapest golden visa.
You might be thinking: if that’s the case, then why isn’t it more widely used? Why haven’t I heard of it before?
The answer is simple: Most of the arts and heritage projects qualifying for the cultural production Golden Visa don’t generate any return on investment.
As a result, the cultural production golden visa is widely considered to be a donation-based option. After all, supporting art projects isn’t commonly associated with making a profit.
That’s obviously an unappealing prospect when compared to other income-generating routes – such as hotel investment projects, investment funds, or regular property purchase.
But there’s one way to use the cultural production Golden Visa and still make a return on your investment.
The solution is to invest in film production – a project designed to make money.
Not only is a film definitively classed as “cultural production”, it’s also one of the only arts and heritage routes capable of generating profit.
As such, investing in a film production meets all the official Portugal Golden Visa application requirements.
Let’s explore Portugal’s cultural production Golden Visa film route in detail, including the different investment thresholds, how to qualify, and how to find a suitable project to start the process.
In the process of researching this article, I spoke extensively with Porto-based film producer, José Mineiro. Jose is an experienced producer who has been involved in Portugal’s film industry for over 20 years.
He runs his own production company, CheckTheGate Films, is a member of the Portuguese Film Institute, and is actively involved in promoting foreign investment to support the local film industry.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice. You should work with a qualified financial advisor and do your own due diligence before choosing an investment route.
Portugal’s Cultural Production Golden Visa
For several years, the cultural production Golden Visa has taken a backseat, outshone by a wave of investors snapping up residential property in Portugal’s major cities.
In fact, the cultural production route has existed in Portuguese immigration law since 2015, but hasn’t been widely publicized.
Well, not until January 2022, when the entire Portugal Golden Visa program underwent a major shakeup.
The Portuguese government changed the program, aiming to redirect foreign investment away from real estate in the major cities, into both low density areas of the country and different types of investment projects.
The biggest change was that popular areas of Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve, became ineligible for residential real estate investment as of January 2022.
This move sent foreign investors on the hunt for alternative investment options. For those seeking a lower maintenance option at a high threshold, investment funds became popular.
Those wishing to secure the Golden Visa as cheaply as possible could invest in hotel development projects in low density areas.
Investing in such projects gives access to the Golden Visa at the lower €280,000 and €350,000 thresholds – without all the hassle of undergoing a rehabilitation project independently, or searching for a suitable property in rural low-density areas.
Some hotel projects also have the added benefit of buyback, and, in some cases, a guaranteed annual return.
The film production route is unique among the Portugal Golden Visa options, because it combines the lowest possible investment level with a guaranteed annual return.
Not only that, but film production is a tax exempt investment, with the added security of pre-approval before you have to invest a single cent.
In the film production route, the resulting Portuguese feature film would be pre-sold to a media outlet. This key factor is what makes the film production route an affordable, safe and profitable way for you to get your Golden Visa.
Another major benefit is that Portugal’s immigration department (“SEF”) treats the cultural production route as high priority. That means Golden Visa applications using this route will be processed faster than those using real estate based routes.
Priority processing offers you a significant advantage, as SEF is heavily oversubscribed at the moment, making Golden Visa processing times notoriously slow in recent months.
Don’t forget: your five-year citizenship clock starts ticking from the date printed on your residence permit. So the faster you can get your application process completed and get that residence permit, the sooner you’ll become an EU citizen.
Interested in the film production Golden Visa?
Key benefits of the film production route
- Cheapest Golden Visa route available – starts from only €200k in low-density areas (otherwise €250K for any area of Portugal)
- Only Golden Visa option with a 15-day government pre-approval step
- Peace of mind – no need to commit any funds before pre-approval
- Guaranteed returns of 4% backed by a notarized deed
- Fully tax-exempt investment
- No maintenance fees or notary fees
- Faster processing prior to immigration submission
- Only one visit to Portugal required – to complete your biometrics
- You’ll get full associate producer status – including your name in the film credits
- You’ll receive invitations to exclusive events and shoot location visits
- You can get your capital back early if needed (although this would be subject to a penalty)
- Investing in film production creates a powerful tie to Portugal – perfect for your citizenship application
The standard minimum threshold for investing in film production is €250,000. For example, this threshold would apply to any film set in introduced in major cities such as Lisbon, Porto, or Funchal.
The threshold is reduced to €200,000 if you’re investing in film production in one of Portugal’s low-density areas. To access the lower threshold, the film would have to be set in and produced in the low density area.
Film production vs real estate
Let’s take a quick look at how the cultural production Golden Visa compares to the other cheapest option: investing in low-density real estate suitable for rehabilitation.
|Real estate (low-density, rehabilitation)
|€250,000 (standard); €200,000 (in a low density area)
|Yes, 4% p.a.
|Around €30,000, including property tax, stamp duty, legal fees, notary fee
|Pre-approval before investing
|Tax exempt on repayment
|Minimum physical stay requirement
|7 days per year
|7 days per year
Before you go…
In this article we’ve explored Portugal’s newest and cheapest Golden Visa route: the cultural production route via investing in local feature films.
Introduced in the wake of the pandemic, this brand-new route is fast gaining popularity, thanks to its favorable conditions.
With guaranteed annual returns, fully tax-exempt status, and priority processing times – Portugal’s cultural production Golden Visa is set to make a splash.
I’ve recently been getting into Portuguese cinema, in a quest to improve my Portuguese listening skills.
Some films are excellent, and investing in the creation of a new one sounds like a fascinating journey indeed – one that allows you to leave your own little mark on your new country of future citizenship.